Erin O’Toole would be no better than Jason Kenney at curbing COVID-19, warns Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau disparaged the response to the pandemic in Alberta and Saskatchewan on Tuesday as he tried to convince voters that Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives would do no better to keep Canadians safe from COVID-19.

Speaking at a campaign stop in Richmond, BC, Trudeau criticized O’Toole for not endorsing mandatory vaccinations, as liberals propose for interprovincial trains and planes, and said O’Toole believes Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney, “is the role model in the fight against COVID. ”

Trudeau also noted the increase in the number of cases in Saskatchewan, where people “face greater risks due to canceled surgeries, face emergency public health restrictions that may have to be implemented” to stem the fourth wave.

“And I don’t think any Albertan or Saskatchewanian looking at this election can think that Erin O’Toole, who can’t even get his own candidates vaccinated, would do better for them than his current prime ministers.” he said.

O’Toole was questioned over the weekend whether he still believes, as he said last year, that Alberta’s United Conservative government responded to the pandemic better than Trudeau’s liberals in Ottawa.

Now, the decision to lift all restrictions in early summer has plunged the province into an aggressive fourth wave, and its health director apologized Tuesday for her role in that.

On Sunday, O’Toole pointed to Alberta’s contract testing and tracing regimes as areas where that province was ahead of the curve, saying both can be used effectively in the future.

Neither Alberta nor Saskatchewan elected a single Liberal MP in the 2019 elections. Liberals believe that frustration with the way their conservative-led provincial governments handled the pandemic could deflect some of O’Toole’s support.

O’Toole and Kenney served together in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, and Kenney was a crucial supporter in O’Toole’s attempt to become leader of the Conservatives.

But like Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, Kenney and Saskatchewan Prime Minister Scott Moe, they have stayed out of the election, knowing that they will have to work with whoever wins.

During a meeting with Star’s editorial board on Tuesday, O’Toole said the same is true of him, and that he has not asked prime ministers to say nice or negative things about him.

“I’m going to try and partner with all of them,” he said.

O’Toole noted that his father, Congressman John O’Toole, was a friend of Doug Ford’s father and that he has worked alongside progressive conservatives in Ontario for years.

“I am a volunteer infantryman for the Ontario CPs and everyone knows it,” he said.

However, Quebec Prime Minister François Legault intervened, suggesting last week that Liberals, New Democrats and Greens are “dangerous” as they want to centralize power rather than delegate more to Quebecers.

At the same time, he praised conservatives for promising to increase federal transfer payments for health care without strings attached and to give Quebec more control over immigration and other issues.

But if there’s a sore spot, it’s the Conservatives’ decision to cancel a national daycare plan, which would deliver $ 6 billion to Quebec, Legault said.

On Tuesday, O’Toole moved to put a band-aid on that wound, writing to Legault and promising to meet within the first 100 days to negotiate how the existing funding for child care promised by the Liberals could remain in place.

When asked during his campaign event Tuesday if that meant a conservative government would give Quebec all of the promised money, O’Toole sidestepped the question, saying the province’s daycare program dates back 20 years and works. for Quebecers.

“We want to make sure our plan helps Canadian families and is coordinated against the plan in Quebec,” he said during a campaign stop in Russell, Ontario.

Elsewhere, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh highlighted his commitment to reducing cell phone and internet bills during an appearance in Toronto.

“That is what Canadians can expect from us. They can expect from us someone to defend them and fight for them, ”said Singh.

“We do not seek to plunge the country into elections. We seek to obtain results and that is what Canadians need to know ”.

And in Charlottetown, Green Leader Annamie Paul called for a “cross-party” collaboration on climate change and praised the performance of Green representatives in PEI, where the party forms the Official Opposition in the legislature.

“All Greens who have ever been elected at the provincial or federal level have been re-elected in this country because they work incredibly hard for their communities,” said Paul.

With files from The Canadian Press


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